Often consumer campaigns represent shallow stereotypes of what ideals of beauty are considered to be, which leads to body modification as a way of gaining control in a society where aesthetic is often dictated. The project explores and speculates what might happen if the power to manipulate gene is given a price tag.
The project started with the above design fiction film that narrates the story from the perspective of Ryan Bose, who was born of CRISPR gene editing. The backstory involved Ryan growing up with the burden of ability looming over him. The search for acceptance had created a movement amongst the genetically modified community, where a metal finger restraint slipped on one’s index finger became the emblem. Ryan on growing up becomes the co-founder of HEBE. The company made use of gene manipulation in order to create products that reverse the effects of these modifications.
The design fiction created products like the anti-whey pill, (left), consisting of tetracycline, colchicine and cholestyramine, it assists in developing malabsorption syndrome in order to achieve controlled muscle dystrophy. The ageing cream, (right), enhanced with wrinkling serum, that help with showing the signs of ageing.
The next stage delved deeper into what the concept of ‘perfection’ and ‘flaws’ meant in todays context. This concept was explored through a series of design experiments. The most successful one involved a questionnaire with a single question, asking what individuals considered to be their flaws. With the information gathered from this, the process of exaggerating those ‘perceived flaws’ were undertaken through rapid prototyping. A hand callus, led to a ring with a tiny light bulb that shined on it. Saddlebag hips, led to thigh wings that acted as hip accessory or went underneath clothing.
News of the world’s first gene-edited baby went live two moths into this project, rooting the fiction in an even closer reality.
“Aesthetic flaws for people who are genetically modified to be ‘perfect’.”
The critical message for this project, which led to the manufacturing of a pair of objects that represent ‘anti-prosthesis’ that lend back aesthetic flaws for people who are genetically modified to be ‘perfect’.
Shoulder Frame is for people who are tired of their broad shoulders and longer necks and want a slender aesthetic. It fits under clothing and allows the user to elongate their torso by narrowing the shoulders and offsetting it higher to eliminate the neck.
Heavy Foot is for genetically skinny people who have a hard time gaining weight. The single shoe weight adds a sway to the users walk which is characteristic amongst heavier people. It allows the user to feel a satisfying weight under their foot. The weight can be increased to the users preference, lending them more control.